KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 16): The benchmark FBM KLCI, which fell into the red shortly after market opened on Wednesday, stayed in negative territory throughout the day. Weaker regional sentiment in anticipation of economic figures from China on Friday and gains in the yen, which hit Japanese stocks, had an upper hand in dictating the direction of local shares.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was down 2.94 points and closed at 1,682.95, weighed by selected blue chips like Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, which fell 26 sen to RM14.16, and YTL Corp Bhd, which was down three sen to RM1.78.
There were 368 gainers and 338 losers, with 1.49 billion shares worth RM1.7 billion changing hands.
The FBM KLCI had gained 1.26 points to 1,685.89 on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, major gainers included APM Automotive Holdings Bhd, which added 31 sen to RM5.47, and Krisassets Holdings Bhd, which rose 17.5 sen to 23.5 sen.
Krisassets had risen as much as five times its theoretical ex-dividend and capital repayment price of six sen in heavy trade as investors accumulated shares in the real estate firm which may now be perceived as a "penny stock", dealers said.
At current levels, a dealer said, investors may see Krisassets as a penny stock with substantial trading volume. "As such, investors are jumping into the stock."
The largest decliner was British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, which lost 56 sen to RM60, while the most active was Patimas Computers Bhd, which closed flat with 142 million shares traded. This was on news that local politician and businessman Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi intended to "rescue" the Practice Note 17 entity.
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 2.56% to 10,600.44, South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.32% to 1,977.45, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.1% to 23,356.99 and the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.7% to 2,309.5. However, Australia's ASX 200 rose 0.46% to 4,738.44.
Reuters reported that Asian shares fell on Wednesday as cautious investors waited for crucial economic data from China later this week, while the yen's extended gains spurred profit-taking in Japanese equities after their recent rally.
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 2.6% on Wednesday, its biggest one-day drop in eight months, as a rebound in the yen prompted investors to take profit on recent outperformers, such as shares of exporters.
Data showed China's foreign direct investment inflows falling by a smaller percentage in December than the month before, helping to trim losses in Chinese stocks, ahead of the 4Q GDP, December industrial output, retail sales and house price data expected on Friday. The data from China will be keenly watched by investors for clues on the health of Asia's biggest economy and global growth prospects.